The other evening I found myself in Sarasota, again, to transport my children to their various entertainment activities. This particular night it was football, or dinner with friends, maybe they were out picking tomatoes, I really cannot keep track anymore.
Anyhow, as Mom-Uber was waiting to be summoned for the trip home, I decided I would create a little fun for myself as well. Clamoring for something other than the beach or the mall, I ended up at Trader Joe’s. Because, why? I am thrifty, and I do love my organic produce a whole celery bunch.
My goal on this particular evening at Trader Joe’s was simple; I wanted to see what I could do with $50 toward my kid’s school lunch. My tweenager’s food tastes align very closely with what Sarasota County chooses to serve them on any given day. Long gone are the days when a lunchbox will even cross his path so all I have to do for him is to send him off with a healthyish breakfast, giant water bottle, afternoon snack, and let the school feed him his lunch. I do not have the typical teenager, though, in that mine actually will pull a Twinkie out of his lunchbox in the morning in favor of a Kind bar. He is a picky, healthy eater so it can get challenging keeping his lunchbox stocked. He requires at least two fruit choices, eats dairy-free, nothing greasy, yada-yada-yada. So, $50…one hungry boy…must be organic…I must say, I was surprised at how it all worked out.
One of the peripheral perks of shopping at Trader Joe’s are the beautiful array of fresh flowers you can buy on-the-cheap. Though they weren’t part of my to-buy list that evening, I do always love being hit with those gorgeous scents of lilies, eucalyptus and other beauties as I walk in the door. It totally clears your head of all that outside noise, traffic mess, etc., so that when you walk into Trader Joe’s you are ready to focus on what is ahead of you. And, on this evening, I was thinking about lunch.
My first “finds” were, of course, in the produce section. I grabbed organic apples, grapes, cherries, spinach, celery, potatoes, cucumbers and carrots, figuring I could throw together lunch salads, cut up veggies and create a nice fruit salad. I also picked up some Idaho spuds for morning hash browns. I love the quality of produce at Trader Joe’s, even in comparison to Publix, my usual grocery store. If you buy a large bag of apples, you can be assured they will be fresh for several days, without a rotting bomb found among them.
Taking a bit of a risk, I chose an organic sprouted whole grain bread and a good quality peanut butter to be the main course in his lunch. A trail mix with almonds, cranberries and cashews, veggie chips, and some organic fruit chews were thrown in the cart as some healthy snacks. As an aside, I picked up organic triple-pressed coconut oil. It wasn’t for the lunches, but I have found that if I have any type of blemish or skin irritation, this wonder oil when applied daily will make it disappear within a very short time. And that was the one item I personally got at Trader Joe’s that evening.
For just under $50 I was able to procure what I needed to make at least a solid week’s worth of healthy lunches, with an abundance of fruits and veggies left for the rest of us. I did not venture into meats, cheeses or freezer items because I did not have a cooler. But, I think my rogue shopping trip to Trader Joe’s, all in the name of killing time, was a huge success.
What are your favorite products to purchase at Trader Joe’s? We all have a few! Let us know what you suggest we purchase on our next visit to Trader Joe’s so that we aren’t missing something wonderful. For more information on Trader Joe’s, please visit their website here.
Photos courtesy of Trader Joe’s Facebook page.